The Los Angeles Lakers need to reduce the minutes played by their starters
It's no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are old, and with age comes plenty of minutes played.
Minutes played is a great indicator of veteran experience, but can also be looked at as wear and tear.
For the Lakers, this is noticeably true.
Kobe Bryant (43,665), Steve Nash (36,422), Antawn Jamison (36,263), Pau Gasol (29,458), and Metta World Peace (28,922) all have played near or above 30,000 career minutes.
All these guys are definitely seasoned, but as the Lakers 15-18 record shows, the wear and tear has been a factor.
Kobe called the Lakers an "old damn team" and it's tough to argue with Kobe on that.
What's even more troubling for the Lakers is how many minutes some of these older players are playing per game this season.
Kobe is at 39 MPG, Nash is playing 32.6 and MWP is averaging 34.8.
Sure they need these guys to play, but at what cost? All these minutes are bound to add up as the season progresses.
Metta World Peace is playing the most MPG of any of his four seasons as a Laker
Taking a closer look at Metta World Peace's minutes, this season would see his highest per-game minutes average in his four seasons as a Los Angeles Laker.
MWP hasn't played this many minutes since his last year as a Houston Rocket back in the 2008-09 season.
In addition, his 34.8 MPG is a considerable increase over his 2011-12 average of 26.9.
World Peace is definitely playing better this season, but Antawn Jamison is currently buried on the Laker bench and needs some playing time.
Coach Mike D'Antoni has sparingly played Jamison so far, which is a huge mistake.
Jamison is one of the few decent bench players the Lakers have, and he isn't being utilized.
Steve Nash isn't nearly as springy as he used to be and needs rest
Looking at Steve Nash's minutes, the near-39-year-old is actually holding up pretty well.
However, this reflects more on the fact that he missed the majority of the season with a leg injury and is relatively fresh.
Six of Nash's nine games this season have seen the two-time MVP play over 34 minutes. The other three games consist of a 30-minute game, a 27-minute game and a game with only 16 minutes.
The recent trend of three straight games of 35-plus minutes is troubling for Laker fans and isn't what the veteran Nash needs.
As the season advances, Nash can't continue this trend and will need to rest more. This becomes even more important if the Lakers are to make the playoffs.
He wouldn't need a huge decrease in minutes, maybe two or three less per game at most.
With Steve Blake out with an abdominal injury, that would put Chris Duhon or Darius Morris in line for a few extra minutes per game.
Kobe Bryant deserves a break here or there
Looking at Kobe Bryant's minutes per game and production, it's clear that he is the most important player for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not only is he the leader of the team, but his mere presence on the court provides a boost to his teammates.
However, having to play almost 40 MPG is not the ideal situation for the Black Mamba.
Kobe has significant mileage on his knees and needs all the rest he can get.
This would be an extremely tough sell, because Kobe is playing outstanding ball right now, but he needs to stay fresh.
Don't forget that he didn't have much of a layoff during 2012, what with the compressed 2011-12 season and his Olympic run with Team USA.
It may be only three or four less minutes per game, but that could make a huge difference over the length of the season.
The Lakers have a capable backup in Jodie Meeks, who can provide three-point shooting while Kobe gets extra rest.